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Book Reviews: The Way To The Stars+Assassin Fantastic+Apprentice Fantastic+Knight Fantastic+ 2 more

Star Trek Discovery: The Way To The Stars by Una McCormack

This novel is another prequel, this one focuses on Sylvia Tilly. There is a ship called the Constance Markievicz. Sylvia Tilly is 16 and has a narcissistic emotionally abusive mother. Tilly's misery is massively overwrought and her bullying toxic mother gets away with her abuse. This was appalling and it has no complexity, scope or scale.


Best Lines:

“I'm always a problem.”


“Well, why wouldn't he listen to you, Tills?”

“Nobody ever has before,”


“Was that what Starfleet was, when it came down to it? One massive high-school science club?”

~

Assassin Fantastic edited By Martin H. Greenberg and Alexander Potter ReReview
What price a human life? This collection of tales about the many varieties of assassins attempts to answer that question. This is an enjoyable and slightly dark read.

DEATH RITES
Two assassins are sent to breach a besieged fortress but there is something else that needs to be done as well. A nice tale with a neat twist.

GREEN STONES
An arrogant young assassin seeks the legendary master assassin Green Stones to teach him. But he fails to see what is in front of him or ask why Green Stones retired. A bitter little tale about the price of this chosen profession.

COIN OF THE REALM
A Princess is to be married to the Prince of a neighbouring Kingdom and assassins are everywhere. But one assassin is better than most. A short but good tale and my favourite of the collection.

THE SVEDALI FOUNDLINGS
This is a sequel to the 'Death Mage' story in 'Villains Victorious' and while not as good as that tale, it is an interesting look at a city ruled by politics and necromancy from an entirely different angle. That of a man who fights the feared Death Mages. This is an okay exploration of a fascinating world.

HISTORY AND ECONOMICS
A man seeks to avenge the death of his sister and hunts down the assassin responsible. But is he really the hunter? A bittersweet tale.

NEVER SAY UH DIE?
An assassin is sent to kill man known as The Deathless. There is a way to kill him; you just need to be the right sort of man. A good dark tale.

DYING BY INCHES
A noblewoman's family was disgraced and destroyed by a rival's accusations. Now she has clawed her way back to riches and a place at the Royal Court, all so she can obtain revenge. But what will she become if she gets what she wants? A nice tale of a woman forced to make an absolute moral choice.

DARKNESS COMES TOGETHER
Two assassins. One target. Things are never what they seem. A good tale.

RAVEN'S CUT
A man tells the tale of the best assassin he ever met. Creepy, creepy stuff.

MYHR'S ADVENTURES IN HELL
A tyrant has being executed but they want to assure he can't be reborn so someone will have to go to the afterlife and kill him there. Nice.

WAR OF THE ROSES
An assassin is sent to kill another assassin. Nice.

ON MY HONOR
The royal assassin is sent on a mission, the problem is the royal assassin is a deep cover spy for the man he has been sent to kill. It all comes down to a matter of personal honour. Good.

A TOUCH OF POISON
A baker is blackmailed into poisoning her master. But these blackmailing assassins have messed with the wrong woman. Good.

ECHOES
A man remembers how he came to be what he is and what he lost along the way. Weird freaky stuff.

~
Apprentice Fantastic edited by Martin H Greenberg and Russell Davis ReReview
This is a collection of tales about the magic and mishaps that awaits those who seek to become masters of their crafts. This is a good collection.

THE AUGUSTINE PAINTERS
A young girl is learning to paint the future, but will her magical touch on the canvas be enough? A nice slightly creepy tale about some very gifted people.

SIGN HERE
A young man's best friend apparently apprentices himself to the devil, so the young man decides to join up too, all he needs is a soul to trade. A short tale with a very neat and nasty twist ending.

TILL VOICES DROWN US
A television psychic is the real thing and one night on live TV, he sees something horrible. So he visits his great-aunt who tells him the terrible truth about the afterlife and the lies of the dead. A creepy little tale with a very bleak take on what awaits after death.

HOMEWORK
My favourite tale in the collection. A pompous self-proclaimed hero (he pays the bards by the stanza to praise him) is trapped in the Dread One's castle. He comes face to face with the Dread One's 9-year-old apprentice who wants to do nasty things to him with cutlery. The hero is sure he can turn the apprentice into a hero-in-training, long enough to save the day and then send the brat off to a dwarven mine. This is black comic brilliance with a neat twist ending.

FINAL EXAM
He was born with Talent so strong it killed his mother as she gave birth to him. Now an adult he must pass a magical test of his peers or pay the price. This is an interesting tale about a not so perfect modern sorcerer.

THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE'S APPRENTICE
A thief and his apprentice target a sorcerer and his apprentice. Things get complicated what with the love, lust, alternate dimensions, shapeshifting and an unheroic quest. This is a funny tale.

WHEN THE STUDENT IS READY
A teenager is yelled at by a crazy homeless man and learns she is a wizard, he's her master and nasty shadow things want to kill her. So she must master her craft and avoid her nosy neighbour. A fun tale and more stories in this universe would be very welcome.

WHAT HAS TO BE DONE
This is a tale of the Death Mages and is a follow-up tale to the tales in 'Villains Victorious' and 'Assassin Fantastic'. Coll continues to fight the Death Mages under the tutelage of his new master Mona - a former Death Mage - and his fellow apprentice Maria. A Death Mage has found a new tool of necromancy and Coll is determined to stop the Mage at any price. This is a nicely dark tale, I love this universe.

~
Knight Fantastic edited by Martin Greenberg and John Helfers ReReview

SQUIRE THORIAN'S TRIAL
It is his one chance to become a Knight and provide for his family. But which matters more to him: victory or honour? This is a neat little tale.

THE CROSS OF GOD
A monk learns his adored cousin has returned unexpectedly from the Great Crusade, only to discover his once brave and mighty cousin is a wreck of a man who has lost all faith. The former crusader has a tale to tell - of how a wizard in the Holy Land cursed him with a vision of the future. Of how his descendants would march under a cross - a strange cross with hooks on each end - and the atrocities they would carry out in the name of this cross. This is a chilling tale.

KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE
Two cleaning women have to clean up after the Knights of the Round Table in this utterly hilarious laugh out loud tale. The tale comes to a bittersweet end as one of the women gives some unfortunate love advice to Sir Lancelot.

BURIED TREASURE
The last member of the Knights Templar escapes with his Order's most sacred treasures. He is determined to protect them from those who destroyed his Order at any price. This is a sad but ultimately hopeful tale.

IN DAYS OF OLD
In this gentle comedy two idiot Camelot guardsmen get caught up in a wild scheme involving the Knights of the Round Table, the Grail and King Arthur playing sword-in-the-stone with one of his Knight's fiancée.

THE CAPTAIN OF THE GUARD
Endrik is the Captain of the Guard for Lord Malik. He is Malik's most trusted, loved and loyal servant. Now the army of King Ludik is laying siege to Malik's castle and Endrik has to choose between who he is and what he was. This is an excellent tragic tale of unwittingly divided loyalty.

THE KNIGHT OF HYDAN ATHE
A dark tale of a Prince, a Knight, an innkeeper's daughter and a kingdom full of secrets.

~
Pharaoh Fantastic edited By Martin H. Greenberg and Brittiany A. Koren ReReview
This is a good collection about the legendary time of the Pharaohs and has many different takes on one of the mightiest empires of the ancient world.

SUCCESSION
The Queen is old and her husband Menes has been enmeshed by his cunning vizier in a dark magic scheme that could destroy Egypt. Menes was a great King once, now the Queen must save the Kingdom no matter the price. This was excellent.

THE VOICE OF AUTHORITY
A playboy Prince discovers he is the new Pharaoh and also discovers the joys and burdens that comes with being a living God. This is a nice tale that captures the magical wonder of a lost era.

A LIGHT IN THE DESERT
A striking and very different tale of another Son of God.

THE SCROLL OF WISDOM
Prince Khamwas chases a stolen scroll and a supernatural thief right into modern day New York in sweet but too short tale of culture clash.

WHATEVER WAS FORGOTTEN
What happens to the dead when their culture is gone? This is a sad tale that guts you.

TO SEE BEYOND DARKNESS
A cat adopted by a grief-stricken Pharaoh discovers unholy goings on and is assisted by Bastet to stop them in this okay adventure.

A LION LET LOOSE UPON THE WORLD
A young girl fascinated by her boyfriend's gift of an Ankh is told a tale by her grandmother about how three little boys unwittingly unleashed a horrific Egyptian curse upon the world. This is a dark little tale with a nasty twist.

GAMES OF FATE
A man in the court of the Pharaoh has forgotten who and what and why he is. But a Goddess and a decision help him find his way in neat mystery with a satisfying ending.

THE SPIN WIZARD
High comedy abounds as Ramses the Mediocre gets some help from a ghost and a spin wizard to remake himself as Ramses the Great.

THE GOD WON'T HUNT
Princess Ipuit has been summoned to marry the new Pharaoh but there is something rotten in the court. This Princess is also a Priestess and she will fight evil and save her husband in this excellent story.

BASTED
A hapless assistant tour guide in Egypt falls into a hole and discovers a lost tomb as well as a very much alive ancient Pharaoh. This is a nice fun tale with a great ending.

~
Villains Victorious edited by Martin H. Greenberg and John Helfers ReReview
A deliciously witty and dark collection of tales in which the villains win.

ALL THINGS BEING RELATIVE
The scribe Cornelius Dickcissel is hired to write the life story of the infamous Dark Queen. This is a hilarious tale that skewers all the fairy tale conventions.

THE SPECTER OF TULLYFANE ABBEY
Just how did Professor Moriarty become Sherlock Holmes arch nemesis? This tale told in true Conan Doyle fashion tells us how and spins a gripping mystery to boot.

DOUBTING THOMAS
Thomas knows something no-one else on Earth does: he knows that Santa Claus is an evil bastard. But how will he prove it in this darkly satisfying tale for all haters of the holiday season.

THE WHITEVIPER SCROLLS
How did a foot soldier become King? He tells us how in a tale that involves a noble woman of no morals, treasure and a bevy of pissed off elves. This is an utterly hilarious tale that takes more than one shot at 'Lord of the Rings'.

SOULS TO TAKE
A deeply disturbing tale about an all too probable future.

NINA
It has been arranged that Anil will marry Nina, but she's not the sort of girl you'd want to marry. Bad things happen to people Nina doesn't like and Nina doesn't want to be a wife in this dark tale.

HORROR SHOW
Simon is a washed up actor, famous for his starring role in a series of low budget gore movies. But his role has been taken from him to be given to a younger hipper actor and Simon is angry. So angry in fact that when the character he has portrayed for years comes to murderous life he doesn't mind a bit. Ask yourself - just who is the real monster in this delicious horror tale.

DEATH MAGE
Enter a world of necromancy and politics in this wonderfully dark and twisted tale that deserves a whole book devoted to its subject matter of Death Mages in Renaissance Italy.

TO SPEAK WITH ANGELS
A saint enters hell to ask the devil a question in this interesting tale.

HEROES AND VILLIANS
Why is evil, evil and good, good? In this comic book inspired world arch super villain Komerdie and his archest arch enemy superhero Captain Chlorophyll ask themselves just that in this good story.

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Tags: book review, star trek
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